Monday, October 30, 2006

Fr. Perrone's pre-election day homily....

I love homilies and sermons that challenge me. It's one of several things which compelled me to stay at Grotto. I'd been going to church every Sunday for over 40 years, but never heard sermons like this before.

I recall the first time I heard one of Fr. Perrone's homilies, weeks after arriving. I was itching to put my arms up on the pew as I had done so often before at other parishes, but I was trying to do in Rome, like the Romans do. As I sat squirming trying to figure out where to put my arms, Father began his homily and I nearly fell out of that pew in shock at what I was hearing (and God knows I needed to hear what he had to say that day). I kept giggling (he really hit home). He grabbed me by my spiritual ear and led me to seek truth instead of comfort.

It was firm, forthright homilies just like the one he delivered this Sunday which led me to realize that Catholicism was not as ambiguous as I had been led to believe. It's also not relativistic, unless someone is making use of pyscho-babble at the pulpit. If I want someone to preserve my self-esteem, I'll go pay a psychologist to tell me what I want to hear. When I'm in church, I want to know the truth - plain and simple, even if it hurts.

Well, read this homily and you'll know what I mean. And, don't forget to vote tomorrow. The photo was taken back during Lent, but is the common appearance our pastor takes at the pulpit - very much at peace.

From the 30th week in ordinary time; year B

The curing of the blind man easily establishes a theme for the homilist and I do well in following the lead of that Gospel.

Often I think how heaven has taken such personal interest in us as individuals. What could motivate this care other than love? I’m thinking here, for example, of the time when our Lady said to Jesus about the wedding guests "they have no wine." That Mary should have on her mind not only those great and large concerns of ours (such as our salvation), but even our physical needs and desires is astonishing. Heaven truly cares about us–and not just as a lump of corporate humanity–but as individuals. One blind man out of so many was cured, not so that we might think of God as exercising selective care, but rather to indicate that it’s the individual who matters to Him.

Blindness in the Scriptures is not only a physical condition but is also symbolic of spiritual maladies. It’s used as such to indicate the ignorance of God or of His commandments, or of a want of faith, or even–as in the phrase ‘willed blindness’–the deliberate and obstinate turning from truth or grace. Surely this last sort of ‘blindness’ is the most serious because it is capable of being overcome, if only there were good will. While we gladly acknowledge the compassion of Jesus on those who are ‘in the dark’ innocently, through no fault of their own, we must also confess His severity with those of bad disposition. For example, He foretold the damnation of certain men who were the cause of scandal to others: men who misled others by their bad example. So, Christ is indeed ‘good news’ to those of integrity, to those who are sincere, to weak sinners who, despising evil, want to do what is right. But towards the malicious and the hypocrites, Jesus was demonstrably intolerant.

The subject of blindness of the willed or blameworthy kind comes to mind when I hear about men and women–reputedly Catholics–who obstinately follow a course other than the one directed by the Church. What sort of madness is it to claim allegiance to the Church only to betray her? I am thinking here not only of Catholic people who practice divorce, contraception, abortion and pornography, but, with even greater force, those in high places who do not defend truth on our behalf. Of these there are two varieties according to their position: leaders in the Church (bishops and priests) and civil servants (those we elect to public office). As our Lord teaches, being higher up, in places of authority, will demand a stricter, not an easier, accounting. The implication is that the higher one ascends the better a person he ought to be. As the well-known dictum has it, ‘noblesse oblige,’ the rich, the noble or the important ones ought to deport themselves honorably. Yet, for reasons of human respect, we tend to reverse this axiom and permit the influential a certain ‘dispensation’ from the laws that bind the rest of us, as if their prestige exempted them from the laws of God. In actual fact, however, as I already said, a more stringent moral requirement ought to attend those in high places. ‘To whom much is given, much is expected.’

We have been much distressed in recent history over the fact that those who are our leaders, and who thus should know and act better, have scandalized us by betraying their calling through their cowardice and failure to uphold the honor of their offices. And why have they done this? Because there are certain moral requirements that demand observance against the grain of popular opinion. One begins to wonder whether their failure of our leaders to defend the truth is due to having themselves fallen prey to corruption or whether they are merely lacking the courage to speak forthrightly. We see evidences of this failure in this many ways: clergy who never speak a word on the sins of impurity that are devouring our society; corporate leaders who betray our trust through mismanagement of monies; politicians–even allegedly Catholic ones–who speaking approvingly of abortion and homosexual marriage while their bishops do not reprimand them and allow them to receive the sacraments; educators violating the innocence of children through shameful things introduced into the academic curriculum; and, needless to add, those in the arts and entertainment fields who have been among the most ardent fomenters of moral turpitude. The cumulative effect of this persistent betrayal is for us to tend to become skeptics, reticent to trust our leaders in nearly every aspect of societal life. This is an unfortunate consequence which, if allowed to go unchecked, might lead to a rebellion against authority and a subsequent social chaos which, in the end, would constitute an even greater societal evil.

In exasperation many wonder what should be done. As mentioned, one should not cultivate a suspicious attitude towards all those in positions of authority. Rightly understood, all authority comes from God. However, one of the great problems of being in a position over others is that it gives an illusory feeling of superiority over them beyond what their office warrants. Do our leaders ever ponder the fact that they will be held to greater accounting for their actions than the rest of us? And if not, here you have the very sort of blindness that sparked these reflections. Our correct response–besides prayer for good leadership–which is no small thing–must be that we pledge ourselves personally and individually to believe in and to uphold what is right so as not to fall victim to the prevailing corruption. As Saint Paul warned, everyone will be judged according to his deeds. That should be a sufficient admonition for us to focus our energies on self reform.

Those in authority over us are appointed in various ways. We do not get to elect our parents, or our priests/bishops (as the second reading reminds us): the one (parents) are given of nature, the other (clergy) are appointed by the Church. But we do have a say-so about who our political leaders will be. Whom shall we appoint to be over us?

An election is approaching, as you know, and before God you have a duty to cast your votes for those who have pledged to uphold what is right. So many issues are facing us at this time in the world that we cannot afford to allow any secondary considerations from obscuring what is our clear duty in voting as Christians. You must find out who is pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-family or else bear your part before God for the consequences of what may likely follow in an even more corrupted society.

One hears Jesus ask in the Gospel, "What do you want me to do for you?" The response is ‘I want to see.’ May our Lord open your eyes to the light, the light of reason and the even superior light of faith to act responsibly for the good of society, the good of the Church and for the good of your own homes.

Now, before someone gets all upset over Father's inclusion of the "practice of divorce", I can assure you that he is not calling divorce itself sinful. I've heard him speak of this before. The key word is "practice". Some get married and figure that if things don't work out, they'll just get a divorce. This presumptuous approach to the sacrament is wrong-headed. Some also jump into to divorce without making the necessary sacrifices to make things work. This includes a couple's prayer habits and frequent use of the sacrament of confession. This is where each truly learns what god-pleasing, family-building sacrifices they must make in order for the union to last a life time.

Red Hat Award to Bishop Bruskewitz

A Bishop cleans the house on this one!

You won't find this in mainstream media, other than to probably take one line out of context and blow it out of proportion. Catholic bloggers are sure to be buzzing about this one - mostly in a very positive light. H/T to Curt Jester. Bishop Brusketwitz gave a speech for the Catholic Citizens of Illinois on October 19, and what a speech it was! Just as a sidenote, Bishop Bruskewitz will be coming to the Metro Detroit area in April to speak at the annual Call to Holiness Conference for which he is an advisor. More on that, and the November 19 benefit dinner in a later post.

I can't help but think of the many times Jesus said the kinds of things to the people that today, would have him sent to "sensitivity training". Jesus did not give us the Church inorder to preserve our self-esteem. He gave it to us for the purpose of salvation, and this means the Church must be counter-cultural. Jesus led by example, and this is one apostolic successor who gets it!

This is very lengthy, so I'm bringing you some key excerpts to entice you to read the whole thing. This is chopped up, so you'll need to get context and background leading into these statements, and expansions in the full speech.

From a paragraph in which the Bishop speaks of various declining numbers:

"...As a matter of fact, it is an aphorism that probably can be statistically verified that the largest religious group in the United States is the Catholic Church, but the second largest is fallen-away Catholics, lapsed, non-practicing, those who have abandoned the Catholic faith. This leakage from the Catholic faith in the United States, which is undeniable, can be attributed to many factors, at least as far as can by observed...."

From the same paragraph:

"....There are many Catholic colleges and universities, some of which are trying to maintain a Catholic identity, but many of which are Catholic in name only. There is a breakdown of authority in the Church, constant and open dissent by people who call themselves theologians; great doctrinal and moral confusion, and Catholics who while professing to belong to the Church are, perhaps, within her pale but outside of her orthodoxy...."

A few lines down from that:

"...Catholics in many parts of the United States are confronted by banal, shallow, and irreverent liturgies that have no or only a most remote connection with the holy sacrifice of the Mass. In 1965, all the statistical studies showed that at least 85% or perhaps more of the Catholics in the United States attended mass each Sunday. The present statistical studies show that this has gone to 27% of the Catholics in the United States attending mass on Sundays...."

Now the bishop begins to explore causes for these problems, with a few excerpts:

"...There are, of course, many causes for these ecclesiastical crises in which we are involved. There are many causes outside of the Church. We live, for example, in a culture that is dominated by materialism and hedonism, invisibly and imperceptibly the values of those things creep in the lives and attitudes of all, including Catholics. Even the healthiest fish cannot swim along in polluted waters. In our country, especially, a serious misunderstanding of freedom has turned freedom into license, and we live in a pan-sexual and irresponsible age, in which pleasure, comfort, and material possessions appear to be the goals of human existence. Lacking solid catechetical teaching, it is very easy for people, especially young people to be lured into that kind of attitude and condition their entire life-style by such an attitude...."

"....The [Second Vatican] Council in itself we consider a great act of the Holy Spirit. However, what happened was (and I speak from first-hand experience because I was in Rome at the conclusion of the Council) that a great number of personages and causes gathered around the Council as a kind of para-Council, which gave, because of their domination of the media, an incredibly wrong impression which persist even to this day, about what the Council was and what it was intended to achieve...."

"...There was also a mistaken notion, even among some people who should have known better, that by removing or changing accidental matters, sometimes considered accretions in ecclesiastical life, it would not affect the substance of that life. I think there was misunderstanding of the Thomistic view of accidents and substances. Sometimes pulling out accidents which inhere in substances disturbs the substances themselves. Among the mistaken notions and distortions that derive from the Council was that of liturgical chaos...."

It's about time someone called these folks out on this! How shameful it is that when some networks need a priest or a nun to "speak for the Church" they go right for the most dissenting voices among the flock.

"...And so, the question arises, "Where is this church?" It is certainly not situated in Andrew Greeley or Richard McBrien, or Sister Chittester, or in the myriads of other personages and voices whose faces and words appear to dominate the media when it come to Catholic expression. No, Saint Ambrose, long ago, told us where we would find the Church, where she is always situated. He said in Latin, Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia, et ubi ecclesia vita eterna. Where Peter is, there is the church and where the Church is, there is everlasting life. It is especially through apostolic succession, and most particularly in the apostolic succession of the See of Rome, that we are able to reach back through history, and touch, not only the bodies and souls of the apostles, but the One Who sent the apostles forth, that is the Divine Founder of our Catholic religion of the Catholic Church, the Divine Source of all faith, as well as the Object of that faith, Jesus Christ. The great martyrs who preceded us in our Catholic faith were willing to see Jesus as the Person to die for, and we certainly, to be worthy of their memory, must see Him as the Divine Person to live for...."

I know too many people who claim to have been told things by priests - in passing, in homilies, and even in confession, which blatanly counter Church teachings. They are our friends, and in our families. We worry about their salvation when they reject certain teachings because priests or bishops made them feel that "it was ok". As much as we love these people, God loves them that much more and He knows how they have been misled. I have much hope that God will mitigate some of their guilt. I am so encouraged by the great number of young priests and seminarians out there, who clearly have their heads on straight. Speeches like this one by Bishop Bruskewitz will not be the rare exception in years to come. It will be the norm!

The cassocks are coming!!!

Pray for our seminarians, priests and bishops - that they are graced with the kind of courage to be counter-cultural, in imitation of Our Lord.

Go read Bruskewitz at CCI in full for background, expansion, and context on each of these excerpts.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Upcoming early November events for Grotto-goers and friends...

A Mass opening the 40 hours devotion in 2005
(also the header photo of this blog!)

Along with the updated announcement of the Catechism with Fr. Perrone, we have some other noteworthy events taking place here in November.

All Saints Day, Wednesday, November 1st (Holy Day of Obligation; the men of the choir will sing the 7:00pm Mass)

All Souls Day, Thursday, November 2nd (Black vestments in use; usually well attended despit not being obligatory). Masses will be celebrated consecutively from 6:30 until Noon, then the Purgatorial Society Mass will take place at 7:00 pm. Priests are permitted to do multiple Masses on this day and at Grotto, they take full advantage. So should we, if we are able.

Assumption Grotto Choir & Orch in Concert (see seasonal schedule at Grotto's website), Sunday, November 5th at 3:00pm at Holy Cross Hungarian Church in Detroit (map). As Father goes on to explain in this week's bulletin: "It was this way by design that it not take place during the celebration of the Mass since the event is intended as an ecumenical affair for all Hungarians who celebrate the jubilee of their nation while recalling with sorry the fiftieth anniversary of the Communist coup with the ensuing reign of terror which crippled a suffering Hungary for so many years".

Election Day, November 7th (get a personalized pro-life list at

Forty Hours Devotions, Friday, November 10, 11, 12 (see more below)

Ushers Pancake Breakfast, Sunday, November 12th, 10:30-2:00

Black vestments at the All Souls Mass

More on 40 Hours Devotion

2005 40 Hour Devotion Photo Post 1

2005 40 Hour Devotion Photo Post 2 (contains links with history and other intresting facts about 40 hours devotion)

Come to the Assumption Grotto to adore the Lord for this rarely available devotion. I never heard of it until I got to Grotto, then discovered only a small handful of parishes engage in it. Stay tuned for more details next week!

Adult Catechism with Fr. Perrone - Update!

I have gotten some feedback out of people wondering when the adult Catechism will take place that I mentioned in an earlier post. Keep in mind Fr. Perrone was out of the country the first two weeks of October, then brought a bug back with him. But, he is back to his usual pep.

Fr. Perrone writes in this week's bulletin:

"...I now go elsewhere to the delayed announcement of the adult instruction class for adults. I don't know how this escaped me sooner, but I know one factor was the already crowded evening schedule. Ah, if only I had one more day of the week. Every evening in fact is taken up with some activity or other. I have come to a solution that I hope will work for any who may be interested in becoming Catholic or who are just thinking about it.

Here's my proposal: Tuesday evenings from 6:00 until 7:00, beginning November 7th. This hour has the advantage of getting the attendees home earlier from th eclasses, but might also forbid attendance by those who must work late. Hard to find a perfect solution. Anyone interested in attending these classes either as a prospective convert or as an adult Catholic wanting deepen his faith may attend.

I ask that you call the rectory so that we can have the needed number of textbooks. This year I will use the most recently issued Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If prospective converts cannot come at this hour, they should call to let us know and we'll see what other arrangements can be made to accomodate them.... "

Last year we had several families sit in. It's a great way for the family to brush up on the catechism together, in a specified time frame, with others learning at the same time.

If you like going to daily Mass, this time slot enables you to assist at the roughly 30 minute evening, daily Mass which starts at 7:00. It does not have the Latin or chant typical of the 7:30am and 8:30am daily liturgies, but works well for those who cannot find a morning liturgy compatible with their work schedule.

American Papist: Habemus Episcopum - New Auxiliary Named for Detroit

Thomas at American Papist brings us good news in the Detroit area: We have a new auxiliary bishop who will be ordained on November 29.

Rather than repeat what Thomas has, I'll let you get the news there. He has many links in his post for you to explore.

Go read the post at American Papist to read more about Msgr Daniel Flores!

Archdiocese of Detroit Statement on Bishop-elect Daniel Flores

EDIT: Here it is in the Detroit News, with photos

The Great News: "Pro-Multis"

Long post warning. I'll do my best to break it up in Q&A format.

Fr. Zuhlsdorf was attempting to keep the news off the web until the proper authorities could announce the news. I had discovered it on a blog last night, of Fr. Tim Finigan who is visiting Rome, who mentioned in his writings that rumors were swirling there about a soon-to-be released letter on "pro-multis". Someone tipped Fr. Z off about the blog post, and he finally conceded that this was the big news. He talks about potential imprudence for it showing up on the web, but I'm more inclined to think that a priest visiting Rome hearing a rumor swirl and talking about it on his blog is no more imprudent than those who originally leaked the information, and all of those participating in the Rome rumor mill on the ground and in emails (mea culpa!). But, the word is out and since it will be all over Catholic blogdom by bloggers with far greater readerships than mine, here we go....

What is the pro-multis issue?

Readers of Fr. Zuhlsdorf's, What Does the Prayer Really Say column in The Wanderer, and in his blog of the same name, likely already know as he has written extensively on this issue. But for the novice, and even some priests who have not really spent any amount of time contemplating or studying the issue in depth, it will appear - on the surface - to be "another concession to the SSPX". I disagree wholeheartedly, and I am indeed a novice. It has far greater spiritual implications to me, than some would have us believe. Just watch the secular press and mainstream Catholic media on this issue and see if any of what you read here, and especially at the blog of Fr. Z will be found in their explanations.

Fr. Zuhlsdorf has 4, lengthy and very detailed posts on the pro-multis issue. I recommend following those links (bottom) after you read this overview if you want to plunge in more deeply with scripture, translation specifics (latin, greek) - for which Fr. Z is particularly gifted - and many twists and turns in history on this matter.

In which part of the Mass is the "pro-multis"?

Here it is, setting aside any other translation issues there may or may not be here. My comment in red brackets
ICEL (1973 translation of the 1970MR):
When supper was ended, he took the cup. Again he gave you thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said: Take this all of you and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all [for many] so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.

Sound familiar now?

What is the problem with "for all?"

Two things stand out for me on this issue, and there are others for which you will have to read all of Fr. Zuhlsdorfs prior posts.

  1. Fr. Z sums the first problem up with the statement below: Not all are saved, as some would like to believe. This is from his first of four discussion posts on pro-multis:
The Church’s teaching is clear. This is our Catholic faith: Christ died for all but not all will be saved. Many will be saved. Many can be a huge number, a multitude so vast it defies human imagining but not God’s ability to number. Lacking even one, not all are saved.

  1. You will have to read his second post on pro-multis in order to get all of the back ground for this next one. After quoting Fr. Max Zerwick, SJ (writing of 1970, I believe) - A Biblical Scholar, Fr. Z observes:
Here is what Zerwick is saying. First, scholars of Aramaic say that Jesus really meant “for many”. Second, our formula pro multis doesn’t exclude the concept “all” but it causes us to think that “all” are not included in Jesus’ saving work. Third, even if the formula “for many” admittedly sounds like all will in fact be saved, certainly no Catholic thinks that way. Therefore, we can and should use the phrase “for all” because it sounds better.

I must make an observation. Zerwick says that because Catholics know what the Church teaches and do not believe that all are saved even through Jesus died for all, we can safely use the “for all”: Catholics will hear it in the right way, not the wrong way. Go to a funeral in a Catholic church today. Listen to how priests preach and people talk. You hear virtually, only, the concept that all are in fact saved. When people die, they go to heaven automatically. This is a perfect example of the rule lex orandi lex credendi … how we pray has a reciprocal relationship with what we believe. If you believe something, you will pray in a certain way even while by praying in a certain way you will come to believe what you pray. Catholics have been made to pray a certain way for decades and, over time, we have come to believe what we hear: all are saved because that is what the phrase “for all” in the consecration sounds like. Zerwick was right in one respect: if Catholics were well instructed and their knowledge of doctrine secure, “for all” could work. Zerwick was fatally wrong in another respect: he couldn’t imagine in 1970 what things would look like in thirty years … or could he? Either way, catechism is the key.

Is this a "concession" to schismatic Catholics in trying to lure them back?

The short answer: Absolutely not! Many cradle Catholics, convert Catholics, theologians, priests, religious, scholars, non-scholars, and ordinary lay people have taken issue with this wording and will be delighted with the announcement when it is made.

Aside from this, some have considered the "for all" translation to be heretical - a potential stumbling block in the Vatican's attempt to bring certain schismatic Catholics back into the fold. While many of these people assist at Masses in Latin, it could be difficult for them to come back to the church when certain vernacular versions of the Mass have wording they consider heretical. To my mind, the fix is a simple one and suffice it to say, is it is hardly any kind of concession to these folks as you may hear in secular and mainstream Catholic press.

Conclusion of this post

I have only scratched the surface. Where you really need to go is to Fr. Zuhlsdorf's blog if you want to dive in more deeply. It will be spun every which way but loose "out there", so learn the facts.

Fr. Z's collection of articles written on pro-multis in one post

Fr. Z's breaks silence on the "great news"

In conclusion, I am personally very greatful to the Lord, and to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI for this simple, yet profound fix (even before it is formally announced). I have learned in the past year not to blow off such ordinary things without reading more deeply into spiritual meanings. We are in a culture that currently lives as if one good act will save our souls, when reality is that one bad act (unrepented mortal sin) cannot be waived for even for a single good act without repentance of the bad. Banal, softened, and even dummed-down language has not helped at all. Just the discussions that will come out of this will aid with deeper reflections of spiritual issues to which these ordinary and simple things are tied.

Hopefully next: Consubstantial!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Cardinal Arinze in France: Decries the "banalization, desacralization, and secularization of the liturgy"

This posting every 3 days-thing is not working. I may have to make exception for small news clips of interest to readers here. This one was too good to pass up. I do have more content to post in a day or two from now, but those will take more work. This is just a quick drop.

It's Cardinal Arinze time!!!

He's in France, and in an echo of what many of us heard when he was in Detroit a few weeks ago, his words are captured publicly and brought to us by EWTN News. I was going to highlight a few statements. The next thing I knew 98% of the article was highlighted. Only His Eminence can pack so much into so few words! My comments in brackets.
Speaking at the Catholic Institute of Paris, Cardinal Francis Arinze (bio - news) decried the "banalization, desacralization, and secularization of the liturgy." He rebuked priests who take an "overtly egocentric" approach to the liturgy, violating the norms of the Church. And he also criticized priests whose "false humility" leads them to "share their role with the laity." [Such as, purification of vessels?]

"The sacred liturgy is not a domain in which free exploration reigns," the Nigerian-born cardinal said. He suggested that many liturgical abuses can be traced to "the undue place given to spontaneity, or creativity, or perhaps a false idea of liberty, or even that error that goes by the name of 'horizontalism,' which consists in placing man at the center of the liturgical celebration instead of directing attention upward, that is toward Christ." [Yes, why love God through our neighbor during the Mass when we have an opportunity to love him directly through genuine, wholesome worship. We should love God through our neighbor once the priest says, "Ite, Misse est!]

Cardinal Arinze went on to say that priests should deliver homilies that are "rooted in Sacred Scripture," rather than offering thoughts based on sociology, psychology, and politics [And he doesn't mean they shouldn't be talking about the evils of abortion, or embryonic stem cell research as these are indeed moral issues]. He reminded his French audience that priests are ordained to proclaim the Word of God rather than to offer their insights on matters that lay people can study equally well. By interfering in the province of the laity, he added, priests confuse their own role, and "that always causes damage."

In an address that repeated themes frequently set forth in Vatican documents, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship concluded with the observation that "the liturgy is not the property of anyone-- neither the celebrant nor the community in which the mysteries are celebrated." He exhorted priests to approach the Mass with reverence and an appreciation for their own role in the Eucharistic mystery [Translation: Just read the black and do the red, Father].

Continue reading Arinze at EWTN News...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Day of Joyful Mortification this Friday - Fast in Thanksgiving.....

Well, I am breaking the 3 day rule again, but couldn't help myself since Fr. Z (Zuhlsdorf) in Rome is all excited about some really great news.....which he cannot yet share. But, the news is so good to the kind of folks who read blogs like his and mine, among others, that he is asking everyone to say a prayer of thanksgiving.

That wasn't enough. In his followup post on the really great news which he cannot divulge just yet, one person in the comment box suggested a day of fasting. So, I am diving in with full faith to fast on Friday in thanksgiving for the great news in the absence of understanding and knowledge. Fr. Z explains in his followup post why he does not want to divulge - an honorable thing. One or two out of many commenters complained saying he was "teasing". I fully support his position to ask for prayers of thanks in advance, and do not consider this a teaser for that reason. We should be doing this all the time! His first post reminds us of this fact.

So, now that I got your interest up, consider taking a leap of faith, say a prayer for thanks, and consider fasting tomorrow if you get this in time. If you don't read this in time, then pick another day.

I suggest reading the comment boxes in both threads, and to keep an eye on Fr. Z's blog. We have no idea when the "great news" will be revealed, so we'll just have to exercise patience, and in the meanwhile a little joyful mortification through prayer and fasting!!!

Of course, you know I'll be watching his blog and bring you the great news when it comes. Not that I want to speculate, but I don't think it is about the expansion of the Indult because he's been discussing that. I will be so bold as to speculate that it is liturgical in nature. Fr. Z told us to ponder some of the pope's writings of recent years and where his focus was. That's all he would say. Could the really great news be packaged in the new document about to be released on last October's Eucharistic Synod?

First post Fr. Z made on the great news

Followup post Fr. Z made on the great news

Fr. Z's homepage

It's a great time to be Catholic!!!
Hold on to your saddle - we are in for a ride.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Noteworthy Catholic News: Vessels, Music, imminent release of Synod document on Eucharist, and Pope speaks on Silence

Here are a few news items. This first one is long overdue. Thanks be to God it has been put to rest once and for all:

Lay ministers may not cleanse Communion vessels, Pope Benedict says

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Catholic News Service

Spokane, Wash., said Cardinal Arinze asked Pope Benedict about the matter during a June 9 audience, "and received a response in the negative."

Noting that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal "directs that the sacred vessels are to be purified by the priest, the deacon or an instituted acolyte," (continue reading about Vessels at CNS...)

In the Catholic Herald (UK) is a lengthy article pertaining to liturgical music. It's well worth the read:

Bad Music is Destroying the Church

by James MacMillan

In recent times the Church has developed uneasy relations with its musicians. Growing up in the 1960s and 70s I was aware of a creeping separation between my serious engagement with the study of music, the application and practice of assiduously honed skills, and what the Church seemed to need and want for its liturgy.

I soon discovered that most serious Catholic musicians were being repulsed by an increasingly rigid misinterpretation of the Second Vatican Council’s reforms on music. Clergy and “liturgists” began expressing a scarcely veiled disdain for the very expertise and learning that musicians had sought to acquire. Serious musicians were more and more caricatured as elitists, reactionaries and Tridentinists by a new philistinism in the Church. Many of those who were not subdued into a state of quietism defected to Anglican and Lutheran parishes where their skills as organists, choral directors and singers were greatly appreciated.

These other churches now regard the Catholic Church as having engaged in a cultural vandalism in the 1960s and 70s – a destructive iconoclasm which wilfully brought to an end any remnant of its massive choral tradition and its skilful application to liturgical use. In short, music in the Catholic Church is referred to with sniffs of justified derision by these other denominations which have managed to maintain high standards of music-making in their divine services.

Is this negativity justified, and if so, how did this sorry state of affairs come about? Discussions of this issue usually throw up divided opinions about the state of Catholic liturgy before the 1960s. Reform certainly seems to have been overdue. The pre-conciliar liturgy by all accounts seems to have been a ritualised expression of the moribundity that had so calcified the Church. We were certainly ready for the rejuvenating breath of the Holy Spirit to cleanse, renew and refresh every aspect of Catholicism in the modern age. However, even although the pre-conciliar liturgical experience could be an alienating endurance for some, others speak fondly of how widespread the practice of choral singing was, even in the most lowly provincial parish. Performance of major composers, from Palestrina to Mozart, seems to have been natural practice from Aberdeen to Kilmarnock, from Glasgow to Cumnock.
The Second Vatican Council was certainly not the beginning of the Church’s desire in recent times to improve musico-liturgical practice. The Church has worried away at the question of appropriate music for centuries, dating back to its earliest days. The constant centrality in the Roman rite, though, since these days has been the chant. The motivation of the Church, since the mid-19th century, to re-establish a more fully authentic liturgical life has been wrapped up with a concern for the chant.

In 1903 Pope Pius X issued his motu proprio on sacred music. Gregorian is not the only form of the chant that has been used by the churches. One need only look to the Anglicans or to Byzantium to see the shadings of a great multiplicity. (Continue reading Bad Music at The Catholic Herald)...

This one is overdue, as well. From EWTN News:


Oct. 24 ( - The publication of the papal document concluding the work of last year's Synod on the Eucharist is "imminent," according to the I Media news agency.

Citing informed sources at the Vatican, I Media reports that Pope Benedict XVI will soon release his apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist. The Holy Father reportedly was reviewing a final draft of the document late in August.

The imminent release of a papal document on the Eucharist would be noteworthy under any circumstances. But in light of the reports that Pope Benedict is preparing another document on the use of the Latin Mass, the document will be even more anxiously awaited. Some Vatican-watchers have surmised that the Pontiff will release his motu proprio on the Latin Mass in conjunction with the apostolic exhortation on the Synod.

The members of the bishops' committee charged with drafting a document on the Synod discussions, which the Pope would use as the basis for his apostolic exhortation, met in Rome early in June. At that time (continue reading at EWTN News...)

Edit: You may want to check out Domenico Bettinelli's post on the release of the Synod document. He ponders whether the release will coincide with the expansion of the Tridentine. Makes sense to me!!!

And, from Zenit:

Code: ZE06102406

Date: 2006-10-24

Spend Time in Silence, Pope Tells Students

Opens Academic Year of Pontifical Universities

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 24, 2006 ( Benedict XVI counseled students of the pontifical universities in Rome to spend time in silence and contemplation, so as not to fall prey to the "inflation" of words.

The Holy Father said this on Monday afternoon to the university students who had gathered for the annual Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica to open the academic year.

Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, presided over the Mass.

Pope John Paul II initiated the annual gathering of university students in the Vatican.

Benedict XVI told the students: "In-depth reflection on Christian truths and the study of theology or other religious disciplines presuppose an education in silence and contemplation, as it is necessary to be able to listen with the heart to God who speaks.

"Only if they proceed from the silence of contemplation can our words have a certain value and usefulness and not fall into the inflation of the world's speeches which seek the consensus of public opinion.

"Therefore, whoever studies in an ecclesiastical institution must be disposed to obedience and truth, and cultivate a certain asceticism of thought and word."

The Pontiff added: "This asceticism is based on loving familiarity with the word of God."

"Pray: 'Lord, teach us to pray and also to think, to write and to speak,' as these faculties are intimately connected among themselves," the Pope said.

Benedict XVI told the students that "apostolate will be fruitful if you nourish your personal relationship with him, tending toward holiness and having as sole objective of your existence the realization of the kingdom of God."

Cardinal Grocholewski told the students to never lose sight of God, "source of our talents," which enrich us if we do not accumulate them for ourselves, but orient them to serving the community.

Some 15,000 priests, seminarians, men and women religious and lay people from all over the world study in the pontifical universities.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Video "Orthodox Catholic": Cute surpise ending...

"Orthodox Catholic"

Watch this 2 minute, 33 second video right to the end for a cute surprise.

I didn't much care for the song, "Everything old is new again", but it truly has context when you see the ending.

Please do not spoil the ending in the combox.

EDIT: For those who don't know how to start it, just click the center once or twice and it will begin playing right in the blogpost. If you don't like the song, just turn it off and watch the slides - to the end!

EDIT 2: My understanding is that it originated with someone at this blog. Please clarify in the combox, and provide additional info for those interested.

Monday, October 23, 2006

USCCB: No one should be reading along in the Mass, unless they can't hear

One thing some of us eventually learn - about learning, and comprehension - is that each of us is biased toward's listening or reading/visuals when being taught. Other's don't even give it much thought. I'm sensitive to the issue due to training I had as a trainer with my company. I am employeed in computer aided design engineering and they were looking for volunteers who knew about the product being designed, as well as the software, so I did my three year stint in the training department. It was a real blessing.

What does this have to do with a document put out by the USCCB? Well, the document in question is called: Hearing the Word of God. Now, since the USCCB is rigorously clamping down on anyone quoting from any of its texts, including the New American Bible, the Catechism and the GIRM I'll have to explain the issue and leave it up to you to read this relatively short document in the link I just provided. I take exception to the paragraph in which the Committee on the Liturgy says, in reference to those who read missals or other aids at Mass, that only the hearing impaired should be reading during Mass. They reason that we are suppose to be listening with reverence, and this cannot be done if we are reading at the same time. Properly, they encourage studying the readings prior to Mass so that we can listen.

This is all well and good, but does not take into account that people learn - including their faith - differently. A pretty good summary can be found on this page pertaining to learning styles (great for homeschooling parents to learn about). They group it this way (and you can hit the web-link to see descriptions of each). These are not disabilities, but just as normal as being left-handed or right-handed.
  • The Visual/ Verbal Learner
  • The Visual/ Nonverbal Learner
  • The Auditory/ Verbal Learner
  • The Tactile/ Kinesthetic Learner
I'm going to focus on the first and the third, because it is not practical, at Mass, to put up slideshows and not have any words in the liturgy. Nor is it practical to have a "hands on" approach to the liturgy (even though it seems this already takes place in some parishes today).

Now, each of us is predominate in one of these and, to a lesser extent, we can have traits in the others. Give "Jim" verbal directions from point A to point B, with 10 turns and he only needs to hear it once, and he's there. "Jim" is an Auditory learner. Give me those verbal directions, and I'm lost after the first turn and must ask 10 more times. Give me a map to look at, and it's burned into my memory for a very long time. Anyone entering the military who is given a list of verbal commands, then finds himself fumbling and trying to recall it all, can understand this. Then again, he may be the best map reader in the company.

As an aside, I fit the USCCB's criteria for person's qualified to be reading during the Mass. For those who do not know, I am hearing impaired with sensorineural hearing loss. In 1991, I was found to have a 10% hearing loss in both ears. About 3 years later, it was up to 30%. About 4 years ago, I was tested again, more thoroughly, and it was a 50% loss in both ears. Technically, I should be wearing hearing aids and have them, but only do so in certain conditions. This means, I have trouble hearing at Mass. I will often follow along in my Magnificat when I cannot be close enough to speaker.

But, I did not get my Magnificat because of my hearing problem. I got it after having confessed to inattentiveness at Mass - not listening to the readings. But, no matter how hard I try, it just doesn't happen for me. My confessor solved the problem for me when he recommended the Magnificat or some other source for following along. It aids me in reverently listening to the readings, which I can then "hear" in my heart and soul.

Hence, I hope the USCCB will revisit this issue and consider that for some people, the most reverent way of listening is with a Missal or a Magnificat in hand.

If this disturbs someone else's ability to concentrate, then perhaps they should consider where their focus is during the Mass, or get a missal of their own so they don't notice what someone else is doing during the readings.

The last thing I want to hear about is "uniformity" during the readings. It never ceases to amaze me how some will use this argument in favor of banning something like allowing people to kneel, sit, or stand following reception of Communion, or prohibiting some from reading along. I can't think of a better label than "rigid" for such applications.

National Catholic Register: Fr. Frank Pavone's New Religious Order is Growing

Fr. Frank Pavone's order is growing - in discerning young men, and in lay associates. It's wonderful to hear there is an associate program for lay people. I brought you the news earlier this year, straight from Fr. Frank's own blog, when the order was officially accepted by the Church.

Father Pavone’s Congregation Growing

Missionaries of the Gospel of Life spring from Priests for Life


Register Senior Writer

October 8-14, 2006 Issue

Posted 10/4/06 at 8:00 AM

AMARILLO, Texas — For an organization devoted to promoting the sanctity of human life, there were signs of new life everywhere at a recent groundbreaking ceremony.

There was the religious profession of the first member of a new religious community dedicated to the pro-life cause. There were lay associates joining. And the first spades were driven into the Texas earth on a 60-acre site for a multi-building headquarters.

The new religious community is the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, founded by Father Frank Pavone, longtime director of Priests for Life. During a Mass Aug. 24 at the Cathedral of St. Laurence in this Texas panhandle city, Father Pavone professed his permanent promises as a member of the community in the presence of Bishop John Yanta of Amarillo and Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Doing so, Father Pavone takes on new initials: M.E.V.: Missionarii Evangelii Vitae, Latin for Missionaries of the Gospel of Life.

The priest then accepted the society’s first two seminarians, Patrick O’Donnell and Daniel Cochran, and introduced four men who have been accepted for a year of inquiry, a period of discernment possibly leading to formal studies for the priesthood. And he received the promises of the society’s first five lay associates. Continue reading MEV at the Register Online

National Catholic Register: New Website Offers Support For Adult Children of Homosexuals

What is often overlooked in debates over SSA (Same Sex Attraction) couples adopting, is the effects such a relationship has on the children. If we haven't experienced it, we can't know. Well, below I start you out with the beginning of a story in the National Catholic Register about an adult woman, who did grow up in such an environment.

A woman who grew up with a same-sex-attracted father has launched an effort to help similar people deal with the pain they experience.


Register Correspondent

LONDON, Ontario — She had every daughter’s natural need for affirmation, but that was something her homosexual father just couldn’t give his little girl.

Now in her 40s, Dawn Stefanowicz knows there are others like her — others who as children ached with silent hunger for that missing connection. To help them, she has set up the first website that specifically addresses the impact of homosexual parenting from the adult child’s perspective.

“It pierces the inside of you when you know the truth. Men who struggle with their own masculinity cannot affirm femininity,” she said. “Six-year-olds cannot tell you how they’re being impacted. We can’t comprehend what we went through until we’re adults.

“People aren’t comfortable sharing this, but keeping it hidden hurts children,” she said. “The secular media is not carrying the message that this impacts children long-term.”

Now an accountant and home schooling mother of two......continue reading SSA adoptions at the Register Online

Friday, October 20, 2006

Helpers of God's Precious Infants - this Saturday 11:00am

Don't forget about the Helper's of God's Precious Infacts Mass and Rosary with Bishop Earl Boyea, (Auxiliary - Detroit).

Please regularly check the Helpers of God's Precious Infants of Michigan blogspot for local events in Southeast Michigan!

EDIT: For a "mini-event, with advertisement primrarily through distributed flyers, it had a pretty good turn-out of about 250 people. It started with Mass by the Bishop, followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament as he led us in the Rosary, then Benediction.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Why I enjoy the ad Orientem Posture - A spiritual case

I posted a comment at the New Liturgical Movement (NLM) under another article in which Shawn Tribe discusses pamphlets being made - in particular the first one, which will address the ad orientem posture of the priest. This is a favorite topic of mine for very personal reasons. Some did not feel it was a good place to start. Shawn defended his choice, and so do I, because it is one of many root issues.

All too often, the case made for ad orientem is a technical one (i.e., never abrogated). I believe we need to start talking more deeply about the profound spiritual nature of the posture, and what it fosters interiorly. Catechesis without this aspect will never be as effective. More will embrace it as they comprehend just how spiritual it is - for both priest and worshipers.

It is in interior silence - the quiet - that we discover God, and ultimately our relationship with Him. The Mass - of all things - must enable this, not hinder it. The loud, busy Masses I have experienced for the first 43 years of my life have never caused me to humble myself before the Lord the way the quiet, reserved Masses at Assumption Grotto have over the last year-and-a-half. There are many subtle cues which bring this about, which all together make for a reserved, solemn liturgy. Couple that with good sermons which talk about ALL matters of our faith - the comfortable ones, and the not so comfortable ones, and watch the lines for confession swell. It is for this reason that I believe some are against Masses which yield interior quiet. Digging deep into our souls, with humility, completely counters the more pyschological focus in Liturgies today: Preserving self-esteem - sometimes over that of the spiritual priority of salvation.

My comment left at the NLM follows below. The Photo below is from a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis, who came in for the Marian Catechists. Soon, I'll be giving details about his expected return this December.

I think it is a good topic to start with. The Mass has a contemplative dimension to it and it was the ad orientem posture which aided my understanding of it. While the parishioners of Assumption Grotto benefitted from catechesis by the pastor, Fr. Eduard Perrone, some years ago, I did not because I was not there.

I was accustomed to bubbly priests making lots of eye contact as they processed in and out, and during the Eucharistic Prayer. Needless to say, my first experience at Grotto on Pentecost of 2005 was shocking with its total lack of such things. I went for several more weekday morning Masses, which are in Latin with Gregorian chant. As the chant filled the air at the beginning of Mass, I noticed how it quieted me interiorly the way I hadn't experienced in Mass before. In fact, the Latin Novus Ordo, with all the incensing, chant and polyphony, ran from 9:30-11:00, and I hadn't noticed it was that long.

Just before Mass, I noticed how the priest was deep in prayer at the back of the Church. For the first time, as I looked at his prayerful face, my thought was, "I should go there too". Then, the chant started, and my soul began to lift itself to God - taking me into "the quiet".

All through the first part of Mass I noticed how the priest, not facing us, but facing sideways off to the left in the sanctuary, was deep in prayer. Much of the time his eyes were closed. All the more, this subtle cue pulled me deeper into the Mass - God apparently using him as an instrument to teach me how to worship interiorly.

Then, he began the Eucharistic prayer, ad orientem. This really threw me and I recall my first thought was, "Oh, no!" Over the next few mornings, I was somewhat agitated and found myself shifting in the pew, as if to seek the face of the priest. Then, all at once it hit me: In the Mass, I should be seeking the face of God.

It was then, that I fully embraced the ad orientem posture, and the Latin Novus Ordo, as well as the TLM. My enthusiasm rose for the Mass, and I continued to go daily. Then I began participating in Catholic forums, and started my blog. In essence, the serenity, solemnity, and reserved nature of such a Mass enabled me to discover God in worship in a way I never had before. With each Mass, as mental prayer was enabled with the lack of stimulii, rapid changes to my life followed - God-pleasing changes.

I have also developed an aversion to the kind of folk masses I once participated in as a singer, and musician. Ditto with "busy" masses with lots of activity, eye contact and physical contact. I can't explain it, other than to say that I can't quiet myself in the same way that I can at a more traditionally celebrated Mass of Vatican II.

I'll leave you with one more thought, and photo taken on the morning of Memorial Day this year...

"...As the sun set the stained-glass window before us aglow, the priest led us into the Eucharistic Prayer...."

Roundup: New Liturgical Movement

Shawn Tribe at the New Liturgical Movement has several very good posts up. This is a good blog to keep tabs with, and it has excellent resources.

The Ideological re-writing of the Second Vatican Council and Fundamental Misinterpretations

The Pope's Latinist

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Interesting Blogs to Visit as my Posting Slows...

As some of you already know, I've made mention that I would need to slow my posting down at Te Deum Laudamus! This is in order to balance my time among other things I need to get done, including a large project: I'm going to try to keep it to every 3 days in order to free up time. Anyone who blogs, knows that sometimes it can be time consuming, especially if Blogger is having a bad wiring day.

With that, I would like to draw your attention to some blogs I have recently added. I've been adding several in my Blog Roll - down towards the bottom of my sidebar. Please hunt and peck through them in between my posts. I credit many of my fellow Catholic bloggers with the content I bring you here quite often. If anyone finds anything troubling in a link in my sidebar, please email me at so I may check it out and reconsider whether I want to maintain that link. I can't monitor what everyone says all of the time. I do my best to bring you orthodox Catholic content through other bloggers, but we bloggers are only human and not all knowing. If you find something offensive, I would like to know about it.

Notes about the Blogging Priests Section

As I began to add other blogs to my blogrolls, for my own benefit and yours, I discovered many blogging priests, who pretty much share the same thoughts on living Catholic as myself, and I'm sure, many of you. It is a blessing to have some priests participating in the "cyber-parish", so we can benefit from the perspectives of many priests.

I have reached out across the great river, to the UK where I have found some wonderful blogs by priests. They too have good links worth exploring.


Fr. Tim Finigan's blog, The Hermeneutic of Continuity has been most enjoyable and I've made two previous links to his posts recently. One is when he stood up for authentic Catholicism by resigning his post as chairman of the school's governors, after Maria Williams, head of a Catholic secondary school did the same following a vote of no-confidence. She was accused of being "too Catholic".

Fr. Finigan also commented recently on the Times of London article covering the anticipated expansion of the Tridentine. He has another great post up, spot-on, and well worth reading. If you ever wondered whether environmentalists were influencing the Church, you'll enjoy his commentary. I wouldn't want to ruin it by quoting it in part, but trust me - it's a good one. Go read Fr. Tim Finigan on PFG and the New Religion.


I've also added another UK priest, Fr. John Boyle and his blog, South Ashford Priest.
He has some good posts up, as well, including one called Clerical Contraception. It was interesting to spend some time in the second half of his September Archive where he discusses his recent trip to Kerala, India with his brother - also a priest, Fr. Stephen Boyle. I always find it intriguing to see how other Catholics witness the faith and Father brings us some wonderful photos, and discussions about their customs.



I have neglected to go back and revisit Fr. Andrew Bloomfield's post strings on heresies through the words of St. Irenaeus in the book, Against the Heresies. To follow this series, go to his Fr. Bloomfield's Blog, click on the September 2006 archive, down to his September 17th, 2006 entry for "Faith Seeking Understanding", and then scroll up through the weeks. Then, click on October 2006 archive from his home page and continue.


Always great posts, with a patristics perspective, great translation posts, and currently, Father is running a series of reflections on the mysteries of the Rosary. Click through October of 2006 to start, where he began with the Luminous mysteries. I will be spending some time reading these, as I've only now discovered them. For me, it is very timely for such a discussion. Today, he reflects on the First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden.


As always, if you click on the Fr. Paul Weinberger link in my sidebar, it will take you to a website and internet radio station playing his audio sermons, which are always great.


I have seen people ridicule some blogging priests because they are spending time on the web. The way I see it, all priests need a break from their duties. Some use that free time to read, to play a musical instrument, to golf, visit friends, watch TV, engage in various hobbies, and other things most humans do. I've known many priests who work 8-5 and call it a day, while others work tirelessly from the time they awake until they go to bed. That some would spend a little time each day, or a few hours per week to bring us their thoughts, is to me - a delight. How many people are in parishes where banality rules? Following some priests, and the sermons and thoughts they post online, is the only way for some souls to get the fullness of the faith. It's why so many have turned to the internet. Not everyone is in a parish with a priest who talks about the hard issues. Perhaps it is a grace of God when someone in need, finds just the right words from a priest in his blog, or on a parish website. After all, it was Fr. Perrone's words I found online which ultimately caused me to select him as my new confessor, and to remain at his parish.


Don't forget to pray for our priests in the Archdiocese of Detroit. You can see the schedule here, which is brought to us by Rosary from the Heart, and hosted at the Assumption Grotto website. Be sure to include in your prayers, the priests who do the Lord's work on the web.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Washington Post on expanded use of the Tridentine

A decent article on the motu proprio expected from Pope Benedict. H/T to Gerald Augustinus:

Pope Poised To Revive Latin Mass, Official Says
Ancient Tridentine Rite Was Replaced in 1960s

By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 13, 2006; A03

Pope Benedict XVI has drafted a document allowing wider use of the Tridentine Mass, the Latin rite that was largely replaced in the 1960s by Masses in English and other modern languages, a church official said yesterday.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the pope told colleagues in September that he was writing the document "motu proprio," a Latin phrase for on his own initiative, and that it was in its third draft.

"There will be a document, it will come out soon, and it will be significant," the official said. Benedict "will not let this be sidetracked," he added.

Wider use of the Tridentine Mass is a cause dear to the hearts of many Catholics, for both esthetic and ideological reasons. It was codified in 1570 and remained the standard Roman Catholic liturgy for nearly four centuries, until the gathering of church leaders known as the Second Vatican Council ushered in major reforms from 1962 to 1965.

To some Catholics, the return of the old Latin Mass is symbolic of a conservative turn away from what they view as the "excesses" that followed the Second Vatican Council, said the Rev. Thomas J. Scirghi, who teaches liturgical theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif.

He said many churchgoers associate the Tridentine Mass with beautiful Gregorian chants and a dignified service, while they associate the new Mass -- formalized in 1969 -- with guitars, drums and short-lived experiments such as "Pizza Masses" in which pizzas, rather than wafers, were consecrated in a bid to attract young people.

In fact, the new Mass can be celebrated with great solemnity, either in vernacular languages or in Latin, said Nathan D. Mitchell, professor of liturgical studies at the University of Notre Dame. And the Tridentine Mass, he added, "wasn't always celebrated with care, beauty, aplomb and musical finesse."

Continue reading Washington Post on Tridentine...

All one has to do is to visit Assumption Grotto to see just how solemn, reverent, and reserved a Latin Novus Ordo can be done. For anyone new visiting the blog, see the photo section of my sidebar.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Will Pope Benedict expand use of Tridentine Mass? Perhaps - and soon!

I received an email about a week ago with speculation that Benedict is about to, or has signed - a motu proprio (on his own initiative) to expand use of the Tridentine Mass.

CNS Covers this story as does The Times of London. In the latter, we read:

Pope Benedict XVI is understood to have signed a universal indult — or permission — for priests to celebrate again the Mass used throughout the Church for nearly 1,500 years. The indult could be published in the next few weeks, sources told The Times.

While this sounds like it has shifted from speculation to something far stronger, I'll believe it when it is officially announced by the Vatican. It's rumored to take place within the next 3 weeks or so. At that time, I fully expect it would hit mainstream media.

Some may be upset at the thought of more readily available Tridentine liturgies, but it does give some ultra-Traditionalists the opportunity to catch the pre-Vatican II Mass, without having to do so at a schismatic Church. For example, there are some dioceses where, despite appeals by John Paul II, bishops have not made the Tridentine "more generously available". It broadens chances that some of those in schismatic parishes may come back, perhaps even some of the priests. However, as the CNS article points out, for some ultra-traditionalists, there are other issues with Vatican 2 that may be an impediment.

I think it is important to note that some of those most interested in the "old Mass" are younger people and younger priests. As many years as folk music was put before me (including several years playing a guitar myself, and another stringed instrument in one of my former parishes), I have gravitated to traditional sacred polyphony, and now....Gregorian Chant.

As for me, I hope that any expansion would not halt efforts to bring people the Latin Novus Ordo, done in traditional fashion, even if along side a Tridentine at differing times in the same parish.

What are other Catholic bloggers saying (check the comment boxes, as well)? The following are just excerpts, so click on their links for their complete posts.

Domenico Bettinelli Jr.

So is now the time? As I’ve said before, I have a sneaking suspicion that the apostolic exhortation for last year’s Synod on the Eucharist, expected next month, will furnish the occasion for some “reform of the reform” and a universal indult. And I do believe that the two will go together. I don’t Pope Benedict is interested in just returning to the Tridentine, but he wants to return to that organic development of the Liturgy that was promised from Vatican II.

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (What Does the Prayer Really Say?) - In response to a quote by Archbishop James Weisgerber of Winnipeg, Manitoba (seen below).

Yes, Your Excellency, young people. This is a common experience through the whole world. Young people want the older form of Mass too. It never ceases to amaze me that the form of Mass which nourished countless souls for centuries and had the power to capture the hearts and minds of so many generations of our ancestors, in good times and bad, across hundreds of different cultures, should still have the power to attract young people. Amazing.

But the truly fun part of Mr. Thavis’s article was the comment that the possible future "├»ndult" is just…

"... a sort of concession somebody has made … "

Ya gotta love that!

Catholic Answers Apologist, Jimmy Akin, who voices the same cautious skepticism about the rumor since it is coming from "unnamed sources", then later in his post, discovers that Catholic World Report, among other news sources has picked up the story. In a long post, which includes the "Pre-publication update for CWR, Jimmy says:

Given the number of news sources picking this up from unnamed sources, we are either dealing with one very talkative source of unofficial spreading of the word before the document's release to prepare the field.

Given the sources such as Cardinal Zen and Archbishop Weisgerber (apparently) going on public record about it, I'm guessing that a release may lie in the quite near future.

Fr. Tim Finigan (UK)

Stupid Times Headline:
"Pope set to bring back Latin Mass that divided the Church".

Oh for heaven's sake! You could just as well argue that the introduction of the Novus Ordo divided the Church. I wouldn't personally support that view entirely - I think that the division goes down to basic doctrine first of all. You could also make a cogent argument that the Classical Rite itself united the Church - that I would go along with.

Thomas at American Papist has additional links to blogger reactions.

There you have it. We'll keep tabs on this story as it unfolds.

It's pretty much thought that this will be unveiled when the Holy See finally releases the document on last year's synod on the Eucharist - within the next few weeks. I'm not holding my breath this time.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Will the Archdiocese of Detroit participate in sending 1 Billion Rosaries to Heaven for the Unborn Next Year?

Next year, I am hoping we can get something going throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit for the Worldwide Fatima Sanctity of Life Day. From what I understand, this first time event, will be held yearly. Perhaps Cardinal Maida will consider holding the Rosary following Masses at the Cathedral next year, and invite other parishes to do the same a month in advance. It was beautiful to know that all around the world large groups of people, and people in private, were participating in an effort to send 1 Billion Rosaries to heaven for the unborn. Fatima is a time-tested, Church approved apparition site.

While the Rosary may not be everyone's cup of tea, this Archdiocese has a very large group of Catholics devoted to it. They are not all gray-haired either. They are in every single parish within this archdiocese and there are varying age groups, with younger people taking an interest, thanks in large part to John Paul the Great.

My prayer is that Cardinal Maida and the Archdiocese will recognize the many devoted to the Rosary by participation in this worldwide event next year - officially. I think they would be surprised at the growing number of people taking an interest in the Rosary. Perhaps we should all be contacting our bishops and cardinals in the coming months to make such a humble request.

If your parish or diocese participated in this event, please drop a note in the comment box. If you don't know how or are intimidated, send me an email at: . I would especially like to know if any diocese participated, and what they did.

Click here to see how Assumption Grotto participated

Our Lady of Fatima: Pray for us!

The Rev. Mr. James Wilder - New Deacon for Grotto - Leads Fatima Rosary

Assumption Grotto did a fine job with the Fatima Worldwide Sanctity of Life Day, which Fr. Perrone plugged in his weekly bulletin a couple weeks ago before heading off to Italy on pilgrimage with Bob and Penny Lord, where he served as Spiritual Director for the group.

I participated following the 9:30am liturgy, with about 200+ parishioners. It was led by our new Deacon, the Rev. Mr. James Wilder, newly ordained on Saturday! Fr. John announced it from the pulpit at the Masses this weekend, after Cardinal Maida (God Bless him!) surprised us by giving the Grotto one of our own who was in the diaconate program. It was nice to see our new Deacon lead us in this Rosary.

Profiles of the 10 men ordained this past Saturday, including Jim's, can be seen on the AoD website. The Cardinal discusses the Diaconate program in Detroit in his October message.

After choir practice ended at noon, I decided to stick around for the 1:00 procession and Benediction, figuring it could be our last outdoor Sunday procession of the season, now that cold weather is settling in. I don't know why it hadn't occured to me that the priest would hold the post-Mass Rosary outdoors, but it was beautiful. Leaves were falling against a deep blue, cloudless sky, and I was kicking myself for not having the camera with me. There had to be close to 200 in attendance for the outdoor Rosary and Benediction, with most kneeling throughout, all around the grotto. It all ended at 1:30pm.

Eucharistic Congress in Charlotte - Photos

Christine of the blog, The World...IMHO, brings us photos from the Eucharistic Congress in Charlotte, NC

Read the captions, especially about the man in the wheelchair.

I do wish Detroit would do something like this.

H/T to Curt Jester

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Pope Benedict to Theologians: We must purify our thoughts in silence - then talk

Here is a post made by "Teresa Benedetta" in the Papa Ratzinger Forums (Italy), which is a full translation of the Pope's recent homily to theologians. It was done without a prepared script. It's a joy to watch Pope Benedict in a magnificent teaching moment. To my mind, some of his words to theologians could apply to others, such as Catholic bloggers. A deep prayer life must be at the forefront of everyone's life, but especially for anyone who is doing any "work" for God. This is especially true in communication. Blogging can be an apostolate. But, it can also become a place to exhibit personal pride.


Here is a translation of the homily delivered extemporaneously by the Holy Father today at the Mass he concelebrated in the Redemptoris Mater chapel of the Vatican with priests who are members of the International Theological Commission:


Dear brothers and sisters,

I did not really prepare a homily today, just some notes on which to meditate. The mission of St. Bruno, the saint of the day, appears clearly interpreted, we might say, in the prayer for the day which reminds us that his mission was silence and contemplation.

Silence and contemplation have a purpose: they serve to keep - amid the daily distraction of daily life - (a space for) continuing union with God. That is the purpose: that union with God should always be in our spirit and transform all our being.

Silence and contemplation - St. Bruno's characteristics - help us to find amid the distractions of every day a profound and continuing union with God.

Silence and contemplation! But the calling of a theologian, a beautiful calling, is to talk. That is his mission: amid the loquacity of our time, and other times, amid the inflation of words, to keep the essential words alive and present. To present with words the Word that comes from God, the Word that is God.

But how can we, being part of this world with all its words, present the Word in words, if not through a process of purifying our own thoughts, which above, all should also be a purification of our words?

How can we open the world - ourselves, first of all - to the Word, without first entering into the silence of God, from which the Word proceeds?

For the purification of our words, and therefore, for the purification of words in the world, we need that silence which becomes meditation, which makes us enter into the silence of God and thus arrive at the point from which the Word was born, the redemptive Word.

St. Thomas Aquinas, following a long tradition, says that in theology, God is not the object that we speak of. This is our normal idea. In fact, God is not the object but the subject of theology.

He who speaks in theology should be God himself. Our thoughts and words should serve only so that God's word can be heard, can find room in the world.

So we find ourselves invited anew to this path of renouncing our own words, on a path of purification so that our words may only be an instrument through which God can speak, so that God is not the object but the subject of theology.

In this context, I am reminded of a beautiful sentence in the first Letter of St. Peter, chapter 1, verse 22. In Latin, it says - «Castificantes animas nostras in oboedentia veritatis» . Obedience to truth should castify our souls - and thus, guide us to right words and right actions.

In other words, to speak in search of applause, to speak according to what we think others want to hear, to speak in obedience to the dictatorship of common opinion, may be considered a prostitution of words and of the spirit.

The "chastity" that the apostle Peter refers to means not submitting ourselves to common standards, not to seek applause, but rather, obedience to the truth.

I think that is the fundamental virtue of theology, this difficult discipline of obedience to the truth - which makes us co-workers in the truth, the voice of truth, because we do not speak in the rivers of words that characterizes the world today, but in words that are purified and made chaste by obedience to the truth. And therefore, we can be truly bearers of the truth.

This also reminds me of St. Ignatius of Antioch who had this beautiful thought: "Wheover has understood the words of the Lord understands His silence, because the Lord can be known in His silence."

The analysis of Jesus's words can only go up to a certain point, which remains our thought. Only when we reach the silence of the Lord, in His being with the Father from whom the words come, only then can we really begin to understand the profundity of these words.

The words of Jesus were born from His silence on the mountain, as the Scriptures tell us, when He was with His Father. From the silence of His communion with the Father, from being immersed in the Father, His words were born.

(Likewise), only by arriving at this point of communion, and taking off from this point, we reach the true depth of the Word and we can be its authentic interpreters.

In talking to us, the Lord invites us to join him on the Mountain, and in silence, learn anew the true sense of His words.

Having said this, we come to the two readings today. Job had cried out to God, he had even struggled with God in the face of the evident injustices he had to deal with. And then he is confronted with the greatness of God. And he understands that in the face of the true greatness of God, our words are mere poverty and cannot even remotely approach the greatness of God, and so he says: "I have spoken twice, I will say no more."

Silence before the greatness of God, because our words become too puny. It reminds me of the last weeks of St. Thomas's life - when he stopped writing, he stopped speaking. His friends asked him: "Master, why don't you speak, why don't you write?" And he says, "Before what I have seen, all my words seem to me like straw."

The great expert on St.Thomas, Fr. Jean-Pierre Torrel, tells us not to misunderstand these words. Straw is not nothing. Straw carries the grain, and that is its great value. It carries the grain. So even the straw of words remains valid as a bearer of the grain.

This, I would say, even for us, is a relativization of our work as well as a valuation of it. It is also an indication to us so that the straw of our work should truly carry the grain of God's Word.

The Gospel today ends with, "Whoever listens to you, listens to me." What an admonition, what an examination of conscience these words require! Is it true that whoever hears me really hears the Lord? Let us pray and work that it may always be true that whoever listens to us, listens to Christ. Amen!

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 06/10/2006 20.07]
Source (scroll down to entry 10/6/2006)

Thursday, October 5, 2006

London teacher quits Catholic school after being called "too Catholic"

Well, it ought not surprise us. H/T to Gerald Augustinus. Fr. Tim Finigan in the UK, whose blog was added to my sidebar some time ago, is quoted in Ethics Daily, in this article:

Teacher Quits After Being Accused of Being Too Catholic

Al Webb

LONDON (RNS) The head of a Catholic secondary school in Britain has resigned after dissident students accused her of being too religious because she forced them to attend Mass.

According to London's Daily Mail newspaper, the rebel students at St. Luke's Sixth Form College in Sidcup, southeast England, were also angered that Maria Williams ordered them to march around a playing field singing hymns and carrying religious icons such as a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Another item on the list of complaints from the high-school-age pupils was an address by an American evangelist, Barbara McGuigan, who told them that no unmarried couples could have a successful relationship and called homosexuality a "disorder."

McGuigan, founder of the Catholic charity Voice of Virtue International, was a visiting lecturer at St. Luke's at the time.

The Daily Mail quoted one student, Michael Aldis, 18, as saying that under Williams' regime, "they used to herd us into Mass and then post teachers at the doors to stop us leaving."

He said he and fellow students were sharply critical of McGuigan, saying she "told us that if we had an abortion we'd go to hell forever, and she showed us pictures of
fetuses aborted after 12 and 20 weeks. Some of the girls were in tears, but no
one was allowed to leave."

Williams resigned in mid-September after a no-confidence vote from her staff. The Rev. Tim Finigan, chairman of the school's governors, quickly followed with his own resignation, angrily insisting that "it is ridiculous to call a Catholic institution too Catholic."

"It's a Catholic college," Finigan fumed. "That's what it's advertised as, and that's what students sign up to. There will be some religious worship -- that will be part of the life of the college."

Williams was unavailable immediately for comment on her resignation.

Fr. Tim Finigan responds in his blog to this article.

Actually, we could use some of that in this country in a few colleges that remain Catholic only in name. Then, these colleges should be declared non-Catholic.